AARP Roadside Assistance has a great set of packages at really solid rates which makes it a hot ticket among roadside assistance plans. It's one of the best when it comes to variety and customization options. However, you won’t be eligible to use the service if you’re younger than 50 because only those people aged 50 and above are allowed to apply for full membership. And membership is, as mentioned earlier, mandatory for AARP roadside assistance.
The main member has to be 50 or older, but there’s a secondary free membership available that isn’t clearly explained – this may allow for partners or dependents of a 50-year-old full member to get the same benefits. If you’re under 50 and still want access to AARP, the Associate Membership is your ticket but it doesn’t have the same benefits or value-added extras.
AARP Roadside Assistance review: The fine print
The plan that you purchase will determine the restrictions, just like any roadside assistance package, but AARP seems to have far fewer restrictions than competitors at a great price point. For example, the Premier plan at $84 annually for one person – it goes up incrementally with each person you add – covers you for up to 100 miles of towing, gives you your first year of membership for free, and includes four service calls. The Road ‘N Tow plan, the more basic offering, only gives you three service calls per year at $64 per annum plus free membership to AARP. Then things get tricky. The Premium plan owner will then go up to $99 per year for renewal while the Road ‘N Tow user will only go up to $69 – the pricing difference is considerable.
AARP Roadside Assistance review: Costs and ease of use
Application process: AARP Membership compulsory with annual renewal
Packages and costs: Two customizable plans that can mix Basic and Premium features and costs
24/7 recovery: Yes
An app for that: Yes. iOS and Android
While the compulsory membership may not be a win for you, the pricing of the individual packages should be – AARP has some of the cheapest packages on the market. You get nationwide towing, flat tire changes, gas for empty tanks (you pay for the gas on Road ‘N Tow), lockout services, and dead battery jumps. You also get access to benefits that are pretty impressive on the Premier plan – there’s legal defense reimbursement up to a certain amount, auto theft deterrent rewards, trip interruption guarantees and Pathfinder Trip Routing. Another nice touch for the Premier package is the hospital emergency bond and a 60-day money back guarantee.
The Road ‘N Tow package isn’t as extensive as Premier – you don’t get trip interruption guarantees or auto theft reward, for example – but it’s a solid road assistance package that will give you peace of mind. It has only three service calls (with Premium you can get up to seven), and winching, tire change, lock out services and dead battery jump. Its towing offering can't beat AAA Roadside Assistance, which is the leader in this field.
AARP: Customer reviews and support
AARP’s website is excellent, perhaps one of the best reviewed. It’s easy to find information, to get insight into the different packages and to work out the best cost investment for your budget. The pages are brightly laid out and very accessible which makes it a doddle to play around with the platform and see what you can get for your investment. The benefits are great, on a par with (if not better than) the AAA. You have access to driver resources like an Auto Calculator and the AARP Auto Center and travel guides and information, as well as a magazine, a monthly bulletin, and value-added benefits and savings. Some of these include insurance, auto services, travel savings with Expedia, and more.
When it comes to customer reviews, however, Consumer Affairs isn’t shining a great light on AARP. Their overall rating is one star for 122 reviews which is a fairly good slice of the population. That said, people usually only rate when they’re really happy or really angry so this isn’t a fair reflection of the company – that and the fact that over 50s may not want to go online and leave reviews. However, the average complaint is about the speed of service to help with a tire or problem with the car. The Better Business Bureau gives the company an A+ based on customer reviews even though it isn’t accredited.
Should you choose AARP Roadside Assistance?
AARP is a solid fit for those who meet the membership requirements. It’s got a great package, solid pricing and plenty of benefits for members. You can join if you’re younger – they’ve made allowances for people who want the pricing and don’t meet the age requirements – but you won’t get as many value-added benefits. Overall, in spite of weak customer reviews, AARP is a great choice for roadside assistance thanks to its customizable pricing, excellent coverage, clearly designed website and superb value.